What Causes Scoliosis?

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  • The causes of spinal curves that develop on scoliosis patients can be classified as non-structural or structural
  • This has been a popular question among patients, because it’s said that at least one gene may be involved in development of scoliosis

In most cases, causes of scoliosis are unknown. This is why some patients have a form of the disease that’s considered idiopathic. Before concluding that a patient has idiopathic scoliosis, however, a doctor checks for other causes such as an existing injury or infection. The causes of spinal curves that develop on scoliosis patients can be classified as non-structural or structural:1

  • Non-structural (functional) scoliosis: This is a structurally normal spine that appears curved, but it’s a temporary and changing curve. It’s typically caused by a difference in leg lengths, muscle spasms or inflammatory conditions like appendicitis. The physician treats this type of disorder by correcting the underlying problem.
  • Structural scoliosis: This refers to a fixed curve that’s treated on a case-to-case basis. Sometimes, structural scoliosis can be part of a syndrome or disease, such as Marfan syndrome, an inherited connective tissue disorder.

Other potential causes of structural scoliosis include neuromuscular diseases (such as cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis or muscular dystrophy), birth defects (like hemivertebra, wherein one side of the vertebra fails to form normally before birth, or a neural tube birth defect2 like a spina bifida), injury, infections, metabolic diseases, connective tissue disorders, rheumatic diseases or tumors (such as those caused by neurofibromatosis, or a birth defect sometimes linked with benign tumors on the spinal column).

Other possible scoliosis causes include:3

  • Congenital scoliosis that’s present at birth: This is a rare disease that occurs when the spinal bones developed abnormally when the fetus was growing inside the mother.
  • Osteoporosis: Bone degeneration linked to scoliosis can lead to secondary scoliosis.
  • Other causes: Bad posture or carrying extremely heavy backpacks or satchels are potential risks for scoliosis.

Is Scoliosis Hereditary?

This has been a popular question among patients, because it’s said that at least one gene may be involved in development of the disease.4 According to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, scoliosis doesn’t manifest itself as “straightforwardly” compared to other hereditary diseases. Generally, 1 in 4 patients will have at least another family member with symptoms of the disease, and first-degree relatives of scoliosis patients are known to have an 11 percent chance of developing scoliosis themselves.5

The CLEAR Scoliosis Institute enumerates studies that have looked into how genetics can affect a patient’s scoliosis risk. These studies highlighted that scoliosis development may be linked to genes related to nerve fiber elasticity, bone density, tissue structure and joint hypermobility.

Unfortunately, as the organization emphasizes, there is still no study stating that there is a specific gene responsible for the development of scoliosis, so this question may remain unanswered for the time being.6

MORE ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

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Types of Scoliosis

Severe Scoliosis

Scoliosis Symptoms

Dealing with Scoliosis-Related Pain

Scoliosis Causes

Scoliosis Side Effects

Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Back Braces

Yoga for Scoliosis

Exercises for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis Surgeries

Scoliosis Prevention

Diet for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis FAQ



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